Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chocolatey Pictures

As promised. 
I love how you can see her cowboy had hanging on her chair. She loves that hat.

Hip-Hip Hooray for chocolate cupcakes!


Finger-lickin' Good!

"Can I stop saying cheese already and eat my cupcake?"

Chocolate = Smiles at our house.

 I love this devious little smile.
She is a trouble maker this one is, don't let her sweet temperament fool you. 

I had a little test in my culinary skills (or lack thereof)
I got to make dinner {and dessert} that was
Gluten-free and had No Eggs, Butter, Dairy or MSG (marked natural flavors on labels)

Pretty tough huh?
But I found something, and it was SSOOOOOOO yummy.

Baked Chicken and Bell Peppers
6 Chicken Breast
2-3 Lemons
3 Green Onions chopped
1 Red Pepper Diced
1 Red Onion Diced
1-2 tsp. Salt
Seasonings to taste (I used Salt &Pepper, Parsley and Oregano)

Now the recipe didn't call for this, but I have fallen in love with brine soaks.
So before I followed the recipe I put the chicken in a gallon-sized ziplock bag with
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup salt (I used sea salt)
Heaping spoon full of minced garlic
Fill remainder of bag with water. 

I only had time to let it soak for about two hours and it was enough. 
Place chicken breast in 9x13 pan. Squeeze lemon juice over chicken breast and let soak for 10 minutes in fridge (I also added some of the water from my brine soak)
While soaking cut up green onions, red pepper and red onion. Mix in seasonings. Carefully lift chicken breast and place veggies below each breast and the remainder of veggies on top. 
Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350º. 

Towards the end I sliced up some lemons and laid them on top to make it look pretty.
It was so yummy. Let me know if you give it a try. 

I also made the cupcakes that you saw in the picture above. 
Here is the recipe for that.
Allergy Friendly Chocolate Cake
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/3 cup Cocoa
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tb Vinegar
2/3 cup Oil
2 cups Water, cold
3 cups Gluten-Free Flour
2 cups Sugar
2 tsp Baking Soda

Combine all ingredients into large bowl. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350º.
Or until toothpick comes out clean.

1 Cup Sugar
6 Tb. Corn Starch
4 Tb Cocoa
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Water
2 Tb Oil
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in medium sauce pan. Add water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes (don't over boil or it will get stiff like taffy). Remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla.

Now the frosting wasn't as chocolatey as I would have like, but there seemed to be no problem consuming them at our house. Hope they were a hit at our friends.

Have any fun, healthy recipes? Do share.
(Oh, and in case it was confusing, we don't have diet restrictions at our house, we were cooking for a friend... so feel free to pass along anything yummy, no matter the ingredients)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I felt sooo good yesterday (monday), tired but was doing so much better than Sunday that I thought I was fine. 

Well... I thought wrong. 

By about 5pm Monday evening it hit me hard how much I over did it. 
And today, well, I've been pretty much useless. 

But this simple thing brought some peace to my day. 
 Nature is amazing, and what these lil' things went through was incredible. 
Wish it was warmer outside so I could watch them dance on the wind and fly off on an adventure. 

Now. To follow Dr. Husband's orders. 
Rest, watch a show,  and not feel guilty {the hardest part} while doing it. 

Hopefully tomorrow will be better than today was. 
Thanks for all of the kind words and well wishes. I have the dearest people in my life.
Thank you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Smart Beans

Did you know that my Kidneys can do calculus?
Yup. I have smart kidneys.
Or rather, they can put me in an unbearable amount of pain, because one of the technical names for kidney stones is renal calculus (that and Nephorlithiasis... but I'd rather think my kidneys are smart) 

Lets start from the very beginning (a very good place to start)

So... if you want you can just skip over the incredibly "TMI" post, because that is what it will be. Sorry. 

This morning I woke up and used the bathroom and was excited to be the first one in the shower and ready for church (I stayed up lated crocheting this incredibly cute headband and was really excited to wear it to church...I never accessorize, and I was so excited...anyway. Sorry, tangent)

So got in the shower, and I started feeling incredibly crampy and my back really started to ache on the right side (oh yea, and my monthly visitor showed up yesterday... so that is why I thought I was just having cramps)

I thought I was just being a wimp. I went to get dressed and it just started to get really bad. So I laid on the bed tossing and moaning and whining to Ryan (Sorry sweetie). It didn't help, so I paced, laid back down, nothing I did made the pain go away.

You know, I never believed that someone could be in so much pain that they would actually throw up. 
Well, it true. You can.

Yup. So as I'm leaning over the toilet, rubbing my back and crying. Ryan decided to diagnose me. 
Bless his heart, he was trying so hard to help out. 
I wouldn't have known what to do if I were him.
Ry: "Um, sweetie. I don't think these are cramps"
Me: Yeah they are, they get stronger and then fade, just like cramps, and I'm just having back labor. 
Ry: "Liz, your uterus isn't in your back unless your really pregnant"
*Liz talks to the porcelain gods for a moment*
Ry: "On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your pain?"
Me: *rolls eyes* Seriously Ryan, I hate that quesiton. I'm not in the mode, talking makes it worse.
*Ry leaves to get on the computer*
Ry: "Sweetie, I really think we should got to the ER. It really sounds like a kidney stone"
Me: Well, what would the doctors do? Won't they just tell me to wait it out and let it pass. 
Ry: "Maybe, they'll probably will give you some pain meds though"
Me: I'll go get dressed. 

I'm grateful to be married to Ryan. Any other guy I probably would have convinced to let me wait it out.
But he was onto the problem, and got me in to get some help.

The next part is all a blur. I was in so much pain I couldn't think straight. I remember being in the car (with my "bowl" on my lap) and dropping the girls off at a friends (who missed church to stay and watch my kids, thank you so much Amy)
We went to the urgent care and I got diagnosed with a UTI.
Then headed over to the ER to get a CT scan because it really sounded like kidney stones 
(and they don't have CT scanners in urgent care)
Oh, and they gave me a heaven sent shot of pain meds before we left urgent care. 
THANK YOU! It helped me so much.

So we went over to the ER, got a nifty wristband, then had to tell the nurse and the doctor the same story and had to give them my ridiculous "scale of one to ten" pain level and sit and wait for a CT scan. 
In the meantime they pumped me full of fluids and the next time I relieved myself my flow was normal and it really felt good afterward. 
Well, I didn't know it, but I must have passed my stone (thank you pain meds).
I got the CT scan and it showed signs of where the kidney stone was and my right ureter was inflamed, but everything else was clear. No other kidney stones to worry about. 

Thank goodness. 
People who get these all the time should be given a medal or something. 
The pain was worse than contractions... in fact, I'm pretty sure it was the worst pain. of. my. life.

I was even spoiled and another friend took the girls while Ryan played the organ at a Priesthood meeting (thanks Karah) it was nice to just relax in some peace in quiet and not have to take care of the girls and myself. 

I'm grateful it is over. 
I'm also grateful it happened on a day that Ry could spend time with me.
I'm grateful for all of the wonderful people who watched our girls (and did their hair), called to check on me and offered to watch the girls tomorrow and bring me food. 
I'm grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. 
I'm grateful for modern medicine... and for that blessed shot of pain meds. 
I'm grateful to now understand what other people are going through when they have a kidney stone... I'll be a little more considerate and thoughtful next time. 
I'm grateful I'm feeling so much better, exhausted and beat up, but no longer in pain.

Sorry... why am I such a wordy person?
Thanks for baring through my story. 
Cute chocolatey pictures of the girls to come. ;)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It has begun...

The first butterfly hatched(?) today. 
Unfortunately I missed it. {bummer} I checked on it several times today, and late this afternoon there was an empty cocoon and a butterfly. 
Oh well... I have two more chances to watch one.

Another note. 
Took some fun pictures of the girls in their new Cowgirl vests for my craft blog... 
thought I'd share a couple of the extras here. 
Chocolate milk time. (or is it just a bribe?) 

Probably should have waited until she was more awake from her nap... still so sleepy. 

She loves her hat! Can't keep her hands off of it.

They love their new little cowgirl outfits. 
Sarah decided that she is Woody and Abby is Jesse.

We're ready for summer and all of the adventures these two cute bugs will have.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tiny Tots Symphony

We have some of the most AMAZING moms participating in our little preschool. 
One of them organized a wonderful trip to see the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO). 

To make our trip even more fun we took the "T" into downtown (kind of like Trax)
 The kids were so excited. 
Sarah was too... until she bonked her head getting onto the elevator. 
She was more than a little tired and became quite the drama queen. 
It took an explanation about how we were going to see some silly instruments 
just like on the Little Einsteins. 
It helped her get a little pepped up again... but still was a little whiny. 
 You can see in her big brown eyes that she is sleepy.

The show was adorable. 
The PSO opened with a fun song to get the kiddos attention and then they had the Man with the Yellow hat come and narrate the story of Curious George.
The PSO would play music at certain scenes in the story. It was really fun.

I loved looking out into the audience and seeing all of the kids bouncing and wiggling to the beat.
About half way through the performance Sarah turned to me and asked when she was going to see the Little Einsteins.
She wasn't to thrilled when I tried to explain that we weren't going to actually see them.

Here's the gang after the show.

It was very fun. I'm so glad that I got to go. 
Thanks Margie for planning it all, and Amy for getting us there. 


Made a quick trip to Phipps with a friend last Friday. It was a fun little outing. 
We had fun exploring the children's gardens and got to see a very special thing. 
Brand new baby bunnies. There were two of them sitting out in the sun. 
(I know it kind of looks like a dead mouse, but I thought it was cool to show the girls brand new little bunnies, the workers said that they were no more than a day old (maybe even just hours old)

Phipps always has little activities for the kiddos to do while going through the conservatory.
It was a bingo card day... Sarah is laying out busily scribbling all. over. her card. 

Can you see the pencil on her hand in this next picture?
Kind of looks like a shadow, but no, it is pencil. 
The had these cool pictures for kids to make rubbings on.
Abby gave it a try, but just ended up coloring on her page. 
She much preferred running around this little pond filled with fishies.

It was a nice way to get out of the house and let the girls run around. 
Thanks Jess!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ice Skating

When we went to Disney on Ice
Sarah was under the impression that we were going to actually ice skate with the Princesses. 
So today... we decided to do some of our own ice skating.

 So we strapped on our "skates" and turned on the tunes and skated.

(Abby didn't really get the "skates" and quickly pulled them off)

Sarah's favorite part was putting her feet in the water.
We had water everywhere.

We had so much fun... but I do have to admit, my legs were burning from sliding side to side 
(I had to actually make sure that the floor was getting cleaned)

 What a little cutie... she was being so funny.

Ahhh... and what a lovely end result.  
Nice, clean, and shiny.

So much easier to be happy when the house is clean.  

Thank you my beautiful princesses for letting me go ice skating with you. 
I. Love. YOU!

PS - so... now I just need some motivation to keep my floor (and house) clean... 
whose coming over for a visit? You know how we love our visitors.
AND we can go get pedicures or something (cause I desperately need one)

I've got Sunshine...

on a cloudy day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What the hail?

 I know its not baseball sized.
But it is probably the biggest hail I can remember seeing. 
Sarah thought they were crazy big {and cold}.

Crazy Pittsburgh Weather.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Warning: This post has some gross pictures. 
View at your own risk

Okay, I'll admit it. I struggle in the winter. 
With everything. 

But nothing beats the blues than going out and exercising.
Especially running. 
Even though I know this, I struggle to get out there and do it.
(I'm not a morning person, but that is the only time that works for running outside)

Well. Today I jumped back in the saddle and am happy to say that I did pretty well after taking a little more than four months off. 
I ran 3.2 miles (the distance of a 5k)

I ran the whole time. 
Even after biffing it into a huge puddle of mud.  
Did you know you could belly flop into a puddle of mud on the sidewalk? Well, you can. 
I only had half a mile to go, but was proud that I kept going, 
probably helped shake off the pain. 

My neck really hurt when I fell, and kind of throbbed as I started running again, but I think it worked its way out. We'll see how I feel in the morning. 

Aside being covered in mud, I looked worst on my knee, it took the brunt of the fall. 
Just ignore the white legs. 

But you know what hurt the most?
My thumb.
The sidewalk was uneven, and my palm landed on the top part and my thumb must have slide down the side. (?) Anyway. Somehow it just caused this blood blister to form on my hand. It kills. 
I guess I should be grateful I have a thumb and quit whining. 
But you're the one still reading, so I can whine away... bwah haha!

Anyway. It felt good to get up early and moving, 
but maybe I could have done without the whole tripping and falling part. 
Thank goodness it was still dark, and hopefully no one witnessed it. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Prize

So I never mentioned what it was I won. 
I got an item of my choice from "The Crafty Pirates" etsy shop.
This is what I chose. 
 The Chunky Button Beanie
(not the baby... although I'd love one of those too)

Figured I could use it for a photo shoot with the gazillion baby boys being born 
(to bad she can't overnight it, I have a shoot tomorrow, darn)
Of course, by choosing a boy item it almost solidifies that we won't have any boys in our family... isn't the way life goes? Maybe I should have gotten something girly. 

Anywho. Always exciting to win something. So go on, find a couple of blogs doing giveaways and enter. You never know when you'll be the lucky one.

An Awesome Day

I am a sunshine girl. We may have to move to Hawaii or California just so I can enjoy the Sunshine more, 
I've really noticed how it affects my mood/attitude. 
Well today was an awesome day. 
Not only was there sunshine, but we had some great things happen. 

We had to take our car to get inspected (that isn't an awesome part, especially since we needed new brake pads to pass *sigh* but the girls and I were able to get a good {hilly} walk in), we dropped the car off early in the morning and then walked home. We had some friends that were meeting at a park so we packed some lunches and headed off to one of our favorite parks... the Dinosaur Park (its about a mile and a half away)

It was really fun to take Abby because she is starting to really enjoy going to parks. When we walked up she got all excited and started jabbering away. 
Here are some pictures from the park. 
 The Princess in her tower. 

Abby figuring out that she loves slides.  
 (except when she decided to go down head first in the tube slide and when mommy caught her she scraped her forehead with her lens cap... 
sorry Abby!)

Maybe she thought she could do it after watching big sister. 

The totally awesome twisty poles.  
 I know I mentioned these in a post before, but they are so cool. You just stand on them and they start spinning. You can control how fast you go by lean toward/away from the pole (although this kind of backfires on kids sometimes because they lean forward to hold on tighter and they just start spinning faster... kind of funny though)
I loved that Abby was finally able to enjoy them too!

 This girls love to swing. 

Abby also discovered Merry-go-rounds. 
She was obsessed with it. 
Kept running over and scaring mom half to death that she was going to get taken out by it.
The other kids were nice and would let her climb on for a bit and spin slow for her. 

It was a wonderful time at the park. 
While we were the the auto shop called and told me I could come and get my car, perfect timing. So we walked to the shop and picked it up. 
I got in about 5 miles of walking today... with lots of huge hills. So that made me really happy to get the exercise, fresh air AND sunshine. Talk about spoiled. 

So as I was heading home Ryan called me, with perfect timing. So we offered to pick him up from school and while in the car I mentioned how Chick-fil-a was giving away a free 8 count chicken nuggets to anyone wearing green. So we headed down and all cashed in and had an early dinner at Chick-fil-a. 
Daddy time is always a day brightener. 

Then after we got home I checked my e-mail... and guess what?
I WON a giveaway!
So cool. 

It has been a totally awesome day. 
The girls and I got lots of exercise, so they will go down early, and tonight I have a Relief Society Activity, so I get to go have some kid-free adult time. Hooray. 

Way to be an awesome.

Thanks Mother Nature for giving us 60º weather and for letting Mr. Sun come and visit us in the gloomy 'Burgh.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Poor Kiddo

Abby woke up sick this morning, again. 

I swear. This poor little one thinks she needs to build up her immune system all in one year.
I'm half tempted to give up nursery at church until summer, I swear that is where she gets it. 

I'm tied to the couch.
Right by her side, if I get up she notices. 

It's kind of a bummer because I got up early to get a little jog in  (its be a long time) and while I was looking for my head phones I heard her whimpering, so I got her a drink and she keep fussing, which is unusual. Went back in only to find she was all fevered up.
By this time Sarah was up too, and we all headed downstairs to cuddle to a movie...
and get thrown up on. 
Thanks Abby. 

But I can't be upset. She feel so terrible. 
Keep snuggling that little blankie Abby...
and I'll stay right by your side.
(even if it means I don't get my list a mile long done... at least we own a laptop...)

Oh, and here are the pictures of our little butterflies-to-be.
Once they are all cocooned it is time to move them to new quarters
We had four caterpillars, but one fell off, you see that dark spot on the lower right hand side. 
I don't know if it will make it, but when I was moving the chrysalises to the butterfly home it started wiggling, so we'll see. 

Here they are hanging up in their new little home. They look so cool, all freakiness aside. 
It is really cool you can see their little wings forming in there.
Just a few more days and they will emerge beautiful butterflies. 
Can't wait. Hope I'm around to watch.